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Siblings: Love, Rivalry and the Forging of Identity

January 27 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm EST


2 CE Hours available for: NY Practitioners – LCSWs, LMSWs, LPs, LMFTs, LMHCs, LCATs, PHDs, PSYDs

About the event

Psychoanalysis has traditionally emphasized the relationship with parents as central to identity formation and character development. Yet, as Juliet Mitchell puts it, “why should there be only one set of relationships which provide for the structure of our mind, or why should one be dominant in all times and places?” In this presentation, Dr.s Christian and Vivona consider the role played by the lateral dimension of psychic life – that is, sibling relations – in forging identity. Two clinical cases will illustrate the profound influence of siblings in the character formation and symptom development of two patients. Dr. Christian’s case will focus on a patient’s experience of having been a replacement child for a lost sibling. This patient developed a negative therapeutic reaction in her treatment as she became aware of her hostility toward not only her dead sibling, but more importantly, at her parents. In the second case presentation, Dr. Vivona focuses on how the therapist’s pregnancy evoked strong sibling rivalry that the patient found unbearable.


Christopher Christian, PhD, is the Editor-in-Chief of Psychoanalytic Psychology. He is past Dean at IPTAR (Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research). Dr. Christian has authored several books including: Psychoanalysis in the Barrios: Race, Class and the Unconscious (Routledge, 2019) with Patricia Gherovici; Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Conflict (Routledge, 2017) with Morris Eagle and David Wolitzky; and The Second Century of Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2011) with Michael J. Diamond. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, and he serves on the Faculty of the Western New England Psychoanalytic Institute. Dr. Christian has a private practice in New Haven, CT.

Jeanine M. Vivona, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at The College of New Jersey. She is a member of the Editorial Boards of Psychoanalytic Quarterly and the Psychoanalytic Psychology. Dr. Vivona has twice been awarded the JAPA prize for her 2006 article, “From Developmental Metaphor to Developmental Model: The Shrinking Role of Language in the Talking Cure”, and for her 2012 article, “Is There a Nonverbal Period of Development?”. She is currently working on a book focused on Language and the therapeutic process, to be published by Routledge as part of the Psychoanalysis in a New Key series, edited by Daniel Stern. Dr. Vivona has a private practice near Philadelphia.


January 27
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm EST